The European Union (Community and Member States) is the world's largest provider of development aid. Community aid is administered by the Commission, and is funded either through the Community budget or through the European Development Fund, a special inter-governmental fund dedicated to development in the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states.
The main focus of EU development policy is on cooperation with ACP states. The ACP-EC Partnership Agreement, the Cotonou Agreement was signed in Cotonou, Benin on 23 June 2000. It was concluded for a twenty-year period from March 2000 to February 2020. The main objective of the Cotonou Agreement is to reduce poverty, consistent with the objectives of sustainable development and the gradual integration of the ACP countries into the world economy.
Community policy is carried out by the Commission through the auspices of the Directorate General for Development and the EuropeAid Cooperation Office, whose purpose is to implement the external aid instruments which are funded by the Community budget.